A documentary about a power thief, the government official who tries to stop him, and the larger story about the lack of power and infrastructure in India’s small towns is making news at the Mumbai Film Festival.
“Katiyabaaz” (Powerless) chronicles the clash between Loha Singh, a Robin Hood-style power thief who claims to be the best in the business, and Ritu Maheshwari, a government official who is determined to stop power theft in the industrial town of Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh.
The film will screen at the Mumbai Film Festival, which begins Friday.
Directed by documentary filmmakers Fahad Mustafa and Deepti Kakkar, the 84-minute movie screened at the Berlin and Tribeca film festivals before appearing in Mumbai.
“The film is as much about the energy crisis in India and globally as it is about the ingenuity and tenacity of the people in Kanpur. It is also a film about the challenges of governance, the numbers and scale that our policymakers must contend with,” Kakkar told Reuters in an email interview.
Mustafa, who is from Kanpur, and Kakkar spent more than two years following Loha Singh as he climbed electricity poles, strung together wires and brought power to several small workshops and businesses that need uninterrupted power to function.